Renewable Energy Update -- August 2014 #2

by Allen Matkins
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Renewable Energy Focus

Renewables provide 56 percent of new U.S. generating capacity in first half of 2014

Electric Light & Power - Jul 21

Solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower provided 55.7 percent of new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity during the first half of 2014 (1,965 megawatts of the 3,529 megawatts total installed), according to the latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Office of Energy Projects. Solar accounted for nearly one-third of new U.S. generating capacity thus far in 2014.

Drought hinders state's emissions goals

SFGate.com - Jul 20

A prolonged dry spell, stretching on for years, might slash the amount of power flowing from the state's hydroelectric dams, already running low after three parched winters. The dams have, for years, been one of California's main sources of clean electricity, generating power without spewing greenhouse gases into the air. Drought forces utility companies to turn elsewhere for electricity, buying more from conventional power plants burning natural gas.

Montana court sends wind farm clash to California

Sacramento Bee - Jul 18

A dispute over a Montana wind farm's potential to harm nearby nesting eagles and other birds should be heard in California, the Montana Supreme Court said Friday, in an opinion that deals a legal setback to the project's developers. The legal row over the Rim Rock wind farm near Cut Bank began last year, when San Diego Gas & Electric accused developer NaturEner of concealing the possibility that eagles and other birds could be harmed by the 126-turbine project.

Federal study identifies aviation glare hazard from solar project

One News Page - Jul 20

Newly-released federal reports indicate that glare from California's Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in San Bernardino County poses an aviation risk for those flying between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The federally-funded Sandia National Laboratories report, released on July 17, shows that mirrored heliostats, which use energy from the sun to reflect heat onto the 397-megawatt solar power tower plant, produce dangerous glare when they are placed in "standby" mode. The concern may be resolved once the mirrors are calibrated.

Trading begins for SunEdison yieldco

PV Magazine - Jul 21

Gross proceeds of at least $500 million are expected from TerraForm Power's IPO. The company has an initial portfolio of 808 megawatts of solar PV projects in three continents. The yieldco also contains some very large projects, including the 266-megawatt Mount Signal project in Southern California.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

The coming storage boom: project proposals nearly double California’s storage target

Greentech Media - Jul 18

California’s push to transform the market for grid-scale energy storage is working even better than expected — at least on paper. Last year, California created a mandate calling for 1,325 megawatts of energy storage projects by 2020, to be scaled up every two years. The first installment of proposals due this year adds up to 200 megawatts. As of mid-2014, more than 2,000 megawatts of energy storage projects have applied to interconnect with the state’s grid, according to recent data from state grid operator California ISO.

Valley projects look to the sun for clean water

Fresno Business Journal - Jul 21

Following a full build out next year, developers of an unlikely system in the farming fields near Firebaugh are counting on desalination as a solution to California’s water shortage. Unlike conventional desalination that uses an energy intensive process of reverse osmosis to remove salt and impurities, the Aqua4 technology by WaterFX relies on the sun’s rays to treat brackish groundwater.

DOE funding for renewable energy projects on U.S. tribal lands

PV-Tech - Jul 18

The Department of Energy (DOE) has made $7 million available for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on tribal lands. The DOE said tribal lands in the U.S. contain about 5 percent of all the country’s renewable energy resources, equating to 9 million megawatts of potential installed renewable energy capacity.

Westinghouse shakes up prospects for West Coast nuclear power

PowerSource - Jul 21

Westinghouse Electric Co. sees something in the West Coast that isn’t all that obvious to others: a nuclear future. When the Cranberry, Pennsylvania-based company announced last month that it has started the federal approval process for an AP1000 reactor that can function in areas of high earthquake risk, Rita Bowser, Westinghouse’s lead on the effort, said the firm’s main target is the West Coast. For all practical purposes, that means California — a state with three strikes against new nuclear power plants at the moment.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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